Australia’s band of elite triathletes will return to the World Triathlon Championship Series on Saturday, when the Italian city of Cagliari hosts its eagerly awaited WTCS debut.
A multiple-time World Cup venue, Cagliari throws up an almighty Olympic-distance challenge attracting two of the strongest lineups seen all year as the battle to become 2022 World Champion nears its finale in Abu Dhabi in November.
Australia will be spearheaded by Commonwealth Games medallists Matt Hauser, Sophie Linn and Natalie Van Coevorden – Hauser and Van Coevorden off the back of a busy Super League schedule and last weekend’s race in Toulouse and Linn after a two-month break.
Hauser will be joined in Cagliari in the men’s race by Birmingham team mate Brandon Copeland and 2018 Gold Coast Games team mate Luke Willian.
Hauser, a dual bronze medallist in Birmingham in the individual race and as part of the Mixed Relay is coming off a busy month of racing in the Super League Championship Series.
Although the boy from Hervey Bay admitted that four weekends of back-to-back racing would naturally take a toll he’s ready for the challenge.
“I believe the race exposure and intensity of being a part of Super League will be invaluable when competing this weekend in Cagliari,” said Hauser, who is sitting second on the Super League pointscore with one round remaining.
“There's still a large element of endurance in that format of racing and I'm really motivated to have a good overall showing for the WTCS after a disappointing couple of results in the series.
“I'll be looking to improve on my lower point scores and hopefully climb up the standings.
“It's been a long overseas stint for me this year so I'm looking forward to rounding it off strongly and heading home this weekend, refocusing towards the Grand Final in Abu Dhabi.”
Van Coevorden and Linn, both part of the Birmingham bronze medal Mixed Relay team will be joined in the women’s field by 2020 Olympian Jaz Hedgeland, her sister Kira Hedgeland and 2012 Olympian Emma Jackson (Box).
Linn, an impressive close up fifth in Birmingham in a world-class field said the Commonwealth Games was “definitely a really positive experience.”
“I was able to hit and exceed the goals I had set and it was very motivating moving into a training block,” said Linn, based out of Boulder, Colorado and in her first WTCS season.
“I actually took several weeks off any kind of structured training after coming back to Boulder to really reset mentally and physically after the first half of the year.
‘I had at least two months until my next race so took the time I needed.
“The training block in this lead up went really well and I was (pleasantly) surprised just how much fitness I retained when I started doing hard efforts again which is really positive.
“I’m keen to get back racing this weekend and get my first taste at the Olympic distance at a World Series level before Bermuda and Abu Dhabi.
“Ideally I will have a similar build up to Commonwealth Games where I gain some experience before the end of the year.
“I think having three consecutive Olympic distance races will be great to dial into that format.”
Triathlon Australia's Olympic Program Head Coach Joel Filliol, who arrived in Cagliari yesterday said he had been impressed with both Hauser and Linn.
“Matt is athlete who has really stepped up this year; he has demonstrated his form is really coming into a world-class level,” said Filliol.
“We have known for many years that Matt has this potential but he is really pulling it together and competing with the best in the world.
Filliol said he was particularly impressed with Linn’s level of running in her two solid performances in Birmingham.
“We knew she was a good runner – but to deliver those kind of runs against a world class women’s field at the Commonwealth Games was a really positive step,” said Filliol.
“And I’m looking forward to seeing her back racing again. Sophie is coming from a different pathway, through a talent transfer – and her running background.
“And this season has been all about gaining experience and she has taken some really positive steps and the next races are another good opportunity to consolidate some of those experiences she’s had so far and compete against the best women in the world again to see what she can learn and grow with.”
Saturday, October 8, 2022
Women’s Race - 10.30 am Local Time | 6.30pm (AEST) | 7.30pm (AEDT)
Men’s Race - 14.45pm Local Time | 10.45 (AEST) | 11.45pm (AEDT)
Swim: 1.5km swim (two laps of 750m)
Bike: 38km (10 laps of 3.8 km) Flat and technical course,
Run: 10km (four laps of 2.5km)
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